“Can’t never did anything”

I was told as a kid growing up “can’t never did anything” by my mom. Whenever we thought the task was too hard or we simply didn’t wanna do it and didn’t put in any effort to even try we’d say “I can’t” my mom would always tell us “can’t never did anything”. It challenged us to do better, try harder, and pull out all the stops in order to succeed.

Sometimes I’d still try and try and try and just not be able to get it figured out, others times I looked at it a little differently and got it right away. There was a sense of accomplishment that I did it. Even when I didn’t think I could.

However, tasks and things can tend to get harder the farther you go in life. More at stake. More to think about. More things to be effected by decisions.

I was scrolling through my favorite Pinterest boards a few days ago and this image popped up in my feed

It reminded me of some of those instances in which I told my mom I can’t and she told me can’t never did anything. I’ve come to learn over time that a lot of the time I can figure things out on my own. I try everything at my disposal to achieve success. I try to remember that I can do it, but not because of me.

I can do it because God. I can accomplish whatever is meant to be for me through God. It doesn’t mean I’ll succeed all the time, sometimes I fall flat on my face but that also teaches me a lesson.

There’s been a lot of can’t floating around in my mind lately. In regards to school in the spring I couldn’t justify driving to Ferris (an hour and a half away) for 1 single 50 minute class twice a week. There’s no way. I had to find a way around it. I did all I could. Emailed the professor, talked to my advisor, tried to figure out a different schedule. Nothing was working and it’s a class I have to have to move on and graduate. There was no option. I had to accept I can’t change it. I have to deal with it and make the best of it.

I had given up on it. Then one day I got looking at other class options and went to meet with my advisor.

Turns out I can take 2 extra classes a semester and graduate early. It didn’t solve not being here 4 day a week next semester, but it added on another class on Monday and Wednesday. which at least made my drive time and class time a little more comparable. I had completely given up hope. I threw in the towel and accepted how it was. Then God comes in and gives me an even better solution honestly.

However, prerequisites are something to keep track of. I can’t take this without that or I can’t move on before completing this class. I can’t do it if I can’t fit all my classes in without scheduling conflicts. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.

When thinking about funding and work when I decided to add on more classes. I know I can’t work only that 1 day a week. Financially, we can’t do it. We need my extra (although little) income coming in. God said hold on. Talk to your boss, figure out plan. Take advantage of the next few months and learn something new you can bring to the table. I talked to my boss and we were on the same page with it.

There were a lot of I can’t. A lot of doubt. A lot of variables up in the air. There still is honestly. It’s like a domino effect and if A isn’t successful then B won’t be. So on and so forth.

Here is what I came to the conclusion of. If it’s meant to happen it will. I will do everything I can. Anything string I can possibly pull. I’ll do everything in my power to make it a success. But there’s a certain point in which I’ve done all I can do. I have to trust God with the rest. I have to know and believe I did everything I can and leave it to God. Be ready to accept whatever the outcome may be.

I have a hard time letting go and handing over control to somebody else. Even God. So this part is especially hard. but God has yet to fail me. It may not be the outcome I wanted or expected. Sometimes it’s better. Sometimes God says not today, I’ve got this instead. It’s like a relay race. You go for your portion or for as far as you can then hand it off. He will finish it out.

Never let your can’ts tell you anything is impossible. Do everything you can. Everything in your power to get it done. However, acknowledge those times where it’s time to step back and give it to God. Believe you’ve done all you can and it’s up to him now. He won’t fail you. It’s true “Can’t never did anything”, but its also true that where you can’t God can.

Yes, we’re alive. Yes, we’re still happily married.

So I’ve been married for 3 1/2 months. We’ve been together for 5 years as of October 11th. We’ve learned what works for us and what doesn’t. We’ve put in the time and work to make two imperfect people have the closest thing to a perfect relationship we can get on earth.

To many we’re in the “honeymoon stage” or “newlyweds”. However I will say our honeymoon stage didn’t start over with wedding rings. We left that in our first 6 months together and honestly I like it better this way. Being our full and complete selves all the time without fear of what the other will think. Nothing really changed except we live together now which means we see each other everyday. As opposed to just weekends.

I’d say the most common thing people have asked us when we see them, since the wedding, is “how’s married life going” or something to that effect. I usually come back with “well we’re both alive and still want to be married so as good as it can be”. More jokingly than anything else.

People always laugh when I say it. But it’s hard to keep it short and sweet acknowledging it’s not easy everyday but say we’re loving it.

It’s an adjustment no doubt. Living with somebody else. Figuring out each other’s weird little quirks that we didn’t know until living together. Neither of us had lived with anybody except our parents and siblings and never on our own.

Eric has learned I like towels folded a certain way and actually refolded earlier this week. He asked what was wrong with it and I said they have to be folded a certain way, that’s how my grandma does it, and that’s how my mom does it.” He said “well then we’ll just have two different types of folded towels” unfortunately for him I let him know “no we won’t cause I’ll refold yours. It goes against everything I was told growing up haha”

It’s a learning curve and more times than not makes us laugh than argue such as the towels. But I wouldn’t change any of it. We knew each other in and out before getting married. And I think that’s why it’s been an “easy” transition. And I say that lightly because there’s nothing easy about it. We both have to make the choice to show up and try everyday.

Part of my response “we’re still alive” is sort of a long story short phrase to summarize it all. We’re obviously early on in marriage, but we became friends and got to know each other for years before. We had been together over 3 years before we even got engaged. From early on we were ourselves. No hiding. It was full force. I guess we were both confident enough to say either you’ll like me for me or not. Luckily for us we love each other specifically for what makes us different. And I think being ourselves with each other from day one is what built the foundation up so well to build our relationship on.

We shared all parts of ourselves with each other. The proud parts and the not so proud of ones. The weird habits and pet peeves.

I was so fortunate to be surrounded by dozens of strong marriages to look up to. I also come from a family that has a real, no bull way look at life and especially relationships.

They’re hard. Sometimes they’re not fair. Sometimes you want to throw the speaker, you’ve asked him to move and take care of for two weeks, through the window. Other times you just made dinner together, cleaned up the kitchen, and cuddle up on the couch with the puppy and watch Alaskan shows.

There are times we shake our head at each other. There are times that I just walk into the other room and take a deep breath.

It takes work. It takes hard work. It’s not a secret to us after 5 years now. Relationships take constant work. But that’s what I mean by “we’re alive” not because we’re struggling. I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. I love where we’re at and the life we’re building together. But because it’s not always easy. We made that decision to commit to each other for life.

Life has its ups and downs and right now we’re in the up side. The down side will come inevitably but it’s because of what we build on the high points that we’ll get through the lows.

The second part of my response is “still want to be married”. Sounds horrible. Of course we should still want to be. But like I said. Some days we just get on each other’s nerves. We work on ourselves to be better for each other. And there’s nothing that’ll ever make me not want to be married to my best friend. But sometimes we just need our space for a little while.

The first time I said “still alive and still want to be married” it caught people, including myself, off guard. I’m sure they were expecting some stories.

Every struggle is worth it. Every load of laundry and meal made is worth it. The spare bedroom that looks like a camo tornado went through is worth it. The boots that sit right in front of the door are worth it.

All of the little “bothers” will come and go. We’ll get better at it everyday. We’ll figure out how to live together better and better. But he is the one I want to come home to. He’s the only one I want to wash a cup of milk that has sat out all day. He’s the only one I want to run into a door that doesn’t open all the way cause he put his boots where I asked him not to for weeks. He’s the one. It’s simple.

I grew up in a family that if it’s broke you fix it. Usually macgyver style. Whatever it takes to be able to use it or keep it working. Well that’s just my plan for my marriage. You take things with a grain of salt. Leave it on your pillow before you go to bed. And wake up the next morning ready to take on the world with him by my side.

My dad was gone in a freak accident. Nothing any of us could’ve prepared for. My mom went from a wife of 11 years to a widow with 4 little girls in a matter of minutes and one phone call. You never know the last time they’ll walk through that door. You never know when you’ll kiss them the last time before they go to work. You never know when you’ll be able to argue with them about taking care of something again.

I learned many many things from my dad and his death. One was treat everyday like it’s the last. And now it’s treating my marriage so that there’s no regrets. That if something were to happen I wouldn’t have guilt or regrets of my last moments with him being negative. That if I was in my moms position I would find peace in knowing I wouldn’t do anything different.

We’re in probably one of the craziest parts of our lives right now. Just bought our first house. Just got married. Both going through school. Both working. Have a puppy. Trying to figure out this homeowner thing together. Hunting. Fishing. And some days suck. They simply don’t leave anything in me by time I get home. I’m on edge because it was a long day of classes. I got piled with homework for the week and not sure how I’m going to keep my head above water for the week.

But Eric gets home. Comes and gives me a kiss and I remember that all this is worth it. One day I won’t have the homework, I can only hope our puppy grows out of her puppy stage, and I’ll have a few more seconds to breathe. It’s all temporary.

One day the struggles we have now won’t amount to how proud we can feel looking back on these times. We work our butts off for this life. We work for this relationship. Every day. We made that choice when we said “I Do”.

We started this journey at 16. We’re now 21 and married with a house and building a life together. We’re young. And that no doubt came with some let’s call it “advice” of how we need to wait. We’ve got our whole lives. But we knew the reality. We knew it wouldn’t alway be a walk in the park. We knew what we were getting into and still wanted it with all our hearts. It wasn’t something we just decided and jumped into on a whim.

We also spent 3 years putting in the work. Knowing what it meant to love wholeheartedly and no matter what. Learning everything we could about each other. Figuring out our dynamic. We built a relationship with God at the center and is virtually unbreakable. Age doesn’t mean anything in my eyes. What does is your willingness to acknowledge the bad days and push through together till you reach the good ones again.

My philosophy may be too real for you. You may decide that a 21 year old newlywed has no idea what she’s talking about. But I have learned a thing or two. Life is hard. Life sucks everything out of you sometimes. Life is not something to take lightly. This world will try to take everything that is left after life takes its toll for the day.

But it’s all temporary. Pick the battles. It’ll be over one day and it’ll all be worth it. Put in the work everyday and you’ll never have to have “what-ifs” if they don’t walk through that door again. Make compromises. Be real with each other. Be brutally honest with yourself. Take the time and never stop dating. Create a relationship that always feels like your first date and gives you butterflies every time you see them. I’m not saying we’ve got it all figured out. We’re just starting our life as a married couple. But it’s the majority of 5 years we have to back that up.

It’s the realization that it’s not always going to be easy, but it’s always worth the work. That was literally part of my vows

“This life may not always be easy but it’s ours and I cannot wait to spend it with you”

We never got caught under the “perfect life, perfect relationship” bubble. We’ve always been honest, even brutally honest sometimes, with each other. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a family that was rough and tumble not dancing under the rainbow with unicorns. One of my all time favorite TV quotes is from friends. There’s just something so true and real about it. There’s no better way to say it in my mind.

So after all that rambling I’ll end with this. First, If you want it, you have to work for it. And that goes for anything in life. Nothing comes for free and often times anything worth having doesn’t come easy or everyone would have it. Second, give it to God. Surrender it all and just follow his direction. Third, fighting is not bad. It’s good to have disagreements. It’s good to get it out. It’s ok to not live in silent peace all the time. It’s healthy even. It’s just when that’s all you do is fight that things can go south. Lastly, live with no regrets. Live as if you will never see them again. I can’t promise it’s the perfect formula, but make the adjustments to fit you and your situation. I know that up to this point in our over 5 years I don’t have a single regret. I wouldn’t change anything. We made God the center of our relationship and he has blessed us. I know without a doubt Eric loves me and all of me. Every impatient, ocd, towel folding, part. I know I’m a lot to handle sometimes. But I know that I can always be real and honest with him. And him me. We work everyday for us. For our life. And for our future.

Heartache to Happy

Most inspiration hits during heartache or hardship. Whether it be a death, loss of a job, natural disaster, etc. That’s when some of the best songs and books are written.

The words just come to you without even having to think. There’s just so much to say trying to figure out your emotions and feelings. It’s real, raw, and often relatable to at least a few people. So, then what happens after you’re happy again? After life is going good? After you’re not constantly living in pain and grief?

That’s the question I’ve asked myself for probably a year or two. I had so much to share. So many words to say after my dad died. I wanted to share my story. The good and bad. To help others.

But what happens when that pain subsided and doesn’t consume me anymore? My life is less than exciting, maybe busy, but just typical stuff for us. Work, school, and hunt and fish anywhere we can. I don’t usually have anything to say anymore but I love writing. I love helping people with my words whether they want to hear them or not. I have people tell me all the time how I help them when I just have a conversation. How together I sound and how I seem to just have life figured out.

Let me start first by saying that I have life far from figured out and I’m just waking up and winging it everyday like everyone else. I just have an amazing God. But I have that gift. Helping others with advice from my experiences even if they don’t want to hear it. People come to me and God just takes over and I love it so much. Whether it be here where you’re reading now or getting lunch with a friend I just find myself in those situations a lot.

My pain was my dad and everyone I lost after him in the short timeframe of 5 years. I still miss my dad. But that pain doesn’t drive my life anymore. I’m not consumed by it. I have an amazing life that I’m so thankful for. Simply put I’m happy.

There are days that get me. On my wedding day I wore his boots down the aisle. And I couldn’t even put them on without crying and definitely couldn’t hold it back when taking them off. Even if he wasn’t there you could just feel him. Or at least I could. But I closed a chapter that day. I walked down the aisle in his boots, and left, leaving his boots and his last name.

It was almost like I let another tiny part of him go. And that broke my heart. It was so symbolic to me after all the pain and everything I had gone through for over 8 years. Everyone that was sitting in those seats were ones who showed up in one way or another for me. Both my parents walked me down the aisle and I wouldn’t of wanted it any other way or any other man to be my “on earth dad”. I danced my daddy daughter dance with the 6 men who stepped up in every way they could’ve to make my life the best it could be. I cried. A lot. A lot of people cried with me. But that night was my last at a Searfoss.

When I left I was opening the door to a new life. A new family. A new stage. A new chapter.

There will be more when it comes time for kids and passing on his legacy to the next generation. His birthday is always hard and his death date will never go unnoticed on my calendar it’s the day my life would never be the same. It’s now fall and I think of my dad daily especially being in a tree. It was his favorite time of year and mine as well. I feel so connected to him and who he was and who I strive to be. But it’s different now. I don’t know how to explain it but it’s different.

I’ve missed him for many, many milestones. First kills, hunting in general, fist salmon landed by myself, driving, graduation, college, wedding. And there will be more to come no doubt. But that part of my life is over now I feel like. It breaks my heart to think of what he’s missed and what he will miss, but one day I’ll have eternity to tell him everything.

So with that I come to a crossroads. What about my blog. What about my possibly useless stories and advice nobody asked for. I’ve kept my blog this long because I keep telling myself I need to. That I need to pursue the gift God gave me. But I definitely don’t need any heartache I’ll take the good spot I’m in. I just pray everyday God will give me the words so I can keep doing something else I love and that people will read and take something from it.

I suppose I’ll end with this. I’ll share for as long as God gives me words. You may or may not need to hear any of it. But you may not be the audience God needed it to reach. The words may be useless and irrelevant but this is the only thing that I have found is mine. It’s the gift God gave me. Sharing and helping with my words. And it’d be a shame to let it go to waste, so bear with me, and ride along as I begin a new path on my blog from heartache to happy. And be prepared for random posts as I navigate a new stage in life.

Because I’m no longer a grief consumed teenage girl. Who doesn’t know where to turn or who she is. I’m Lexi Brown. A wife. A dog mom. A college student. A Christian. Who has a relationship with God who got her through. Who is pushing her way through a mans dominated career one class and job at a time. Who loves to hunt and fish. I’m just me figuring out who I am and who I will be. Living without regrets, building a life with my best friend, and trying to build a legacy that includes my dads and getting ready to pass it onto the next generation.

On a side note, if you think you’re story is over. Think again. God always has got a plan, just trust it and keep living. If you think you’ve done all you can or contributed all you can. Keep pushing. Somebody out there needs your talent. Your gift. Share it with the world. If you’re on this earth God needs you. And he put you here for a reason to fulfill a purpose, wear that proudly.

The life I’ve prayed for…

I grew up in a Christian home and knew God loved me and died on the cross to take my sins away. I grew up hearing Bible stories in Sunday school and going to Awana then youth group. It was just what we did. We prayed before dinner and memorized Bible verses for Awana. I talked about my faith often and had one of the most God fearing amazing women at my disposal to help me through my faith as a child. I was actually saved and baptized at about 7 years old, however, as I’ve grown and experienced both the hurt and joy life can bring I don’t think I truly knew what that meant to accept Jesus. I said the words but didn’t know what they meant. I did it more because that’s just what you did, it was part of the “motions” of leading a Christian life. It wasn’t because I was passionate and intentional about devoting anything and everything in my life to God and his will.

It wasn’t the Godly based fire burning inside of me like I saw in other Christians. And it was something I strived for. But Something was missing. A piece just wasn’t here to complete the puzzle. I continued on through my childhood/early teen years just going through the motions without ever truly finding my relationship with God it was a religion I walked into on Sunday/Wednesday and left as I walked out the door. I believed I have to be perfect in order for God to love me and let me into heaven one day…

As most know, at 12 years old my dad died and for about the next 5 years after that I lost a lot of loved ones and was on a rocky part of my Faith. After losing 6 people in 5 years I was angry. Angry at the world. Angry at God. I started to wonder if he truly loved me and had my best interest in mind. How could he by taking away so many people I loved? It wasn’t fair and it just didn’t make sense. How could I give everything to him and trust his will when he just keeps taking away?

That is until two years ago. We had started a new church about a year before and I went on converge, which is a young adult/college ministry at the new church. Converge is a trip for spring break that they pick a destination and we get to spend time with each other and God for the whole week just away from everything going on at home. I met a handful of people only 3 days before leaving for Virginia Beach and then took the very very long drive in a 15 passenger van with strangers who turned into friends. I confronted all the pain and tough years that week. I found myself, my happiness, and my relationship with God on the beach with 40+ people I hadn’t ever met before. I realized that God loved me despite my imperfections and sins. He won’t turn his back on me if I slip up. And he doesn’t hold the fact that I’m human and make human mistakes against me if I surrender all to him and ask him for forgiveness. Obviously it’s not condoning doing whatever you want, but it’s the understanding that in the flesh you’ll never not sin. But it’s the fact that we try everyday to be the best we can be and make conscious choices to do right by Gods word. I also had a boyfriend that was making me see life in a new way. That week I decided it was time for a change. It was time to take my religion and turn it into a relationship, to stop letting God carry our relationship and start holding up my end as well. Time to give God the relationship and time he deserves. I’ve contemplated getting Re baptized ever since. I know I don’t have to and that it I’m still going to heaven even if I don’t. But my boyfriend, now fiancé, also started to get into his faith more when I told him about converge and the life I hoped to have one day.

I came back on a faith based high and couldn’t wait to dive into my own life and make changes I knew I shoulda made a long time ago. I was determined to live a more intentional life and lead a Godly life. All in. Converge 2020 was right before the pandemic. I didn’t have much to “confront” this time. I was just there to enjoy the amazing views, work on my new growing relationship, and take things away that I could bring to my engagement and start the foundation of our marriage on stone instead of sand. It hit me the last night that the week had hit harder than I even noticed until then. My dad not being at my wedding was something I realized. That night is a whole other story and one I encourage you to go back into my blog and read. But moral of the story that night it hit me that he’d miss out on so much. I came home and was determined to turn that feeling into good. Into a path for Eric and I to lead as we looked on to our life together and our marriage.

Since then we’ve made it a priority to bring him into the center of our relationship and build that foundation for our marriage. He also decided this spring when it came up in church it was his time to get baptized after getting saved over a year ago. However, he was at first hesitant, getting up in front of people isn’t his thing. And that same Re baptism thought kept creeping into my mind. I hadn’t thought about it much until God told me “do it with him”. It will set his mind at ease having someone there next to him through it all and it’ll give you the opportunity to recommit to a life that isn’t just going through the motions. It’s a chance to do this together and only months away from the wedding you’ll start this marriage off on a step that I’d like no other and all’s us to grow closer together.

So for me I still wasn’t sure even after God clearly told me. I knew I didn’t have to do it, but I wanted to. Gods not going to send me away from heaven on my day if I don’t get Re baptized. So it’s more for me than it was for God. But it was also for my relationship with Eric. I knew it’d bring us closer in ways nothing else could.

Eric has been on this journey with me since that day two years ago and even before that. We’ve worked on this together and it gave me the push to recommit a more intentional life following God and we’ll soon be married. This is a step to bring us closer and set up our relationship with God both individually and as a couple to build on in our future. And that’s the future we get to start now.

So, on May 16, 2021 we both did it. We both got baptized. We did it together. From day one, we’ve both come so far. And I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of Eric than today watching him come up out of that water…I hope it brings us closer than anything else can and we don’t stop here. I pray that this is just the beginning of our already amazing life we’ve built. We’ve given our lives to God. His will be done…the life I’ve prayed for and wished for my whole life is just over the horizon…

For me, the Cross means comfort

Over the last year or so my planning, to-do list, overthinking mind has been seriously challenged. First, COVID-19. It’s no secret it did damage to a lot of people’s plans and goals. The world felt as though it just stopped. There was so much uncertainty. It was hard to decipher what was true and what was just being fed to us. For someone just trying to figure out the adult world and find my place, it definitely has presented its challenges on so many levels. Then, trying to plan a wedding in the middle of the pandemic. My fiancé and I had made the decision early on to not let it put a hold on our future together and would continue on planning as normal. We’d have the day we waited for and deserve and it’d be exactly how we wanted. We had actually initially planned on getting married in the summer of 2020, after talking we decided to save more and bump it a year before COVID was even a thing. I’m so glad we did now because who knows what would’ve happened. We also hope to buy a house instead of rent an apartment and throw money at something that essentially gets us nowhere. But we’re gonna have to jump through countless hoops just to get a mortgage. Not to mention I’m still putting myself through school while working as much as my schedule allows. And facing the end of my current form of financial aid. After this semester I lose it which basically covers all tuition, for the most part. So I have no idea on how I’m going to pay for the next two years of school.

Now I know this sounds like a laundry list of money issues that anybody can have. I have no doubt there’s people worse off. I count myself very lucky that I’m as fortunate as I am.

My outlook has sort of been it’s not great circumstances but it could be so much worse.

I’ve had school basically payed for up to this point. I’ve only had to take out one single loan. Which is a miracle to some and an aspect I feel blessed for. We’ve saved money while paying off our wedding as we go. Getting exactly what we want but keeping a modest budget. We’ve built up credit and put money away so we’ve got a decent shot at buying a home.

All of this to say one simple thing. It’s been a rough year for a lot of people. It’s easy to get discouraged and want to just throw in the towel. I’m about to hit the big moment that could set the scene for my future. My financial aid ends, we finish paying for a wedding, and hopefully buy a house. All within a few months. It’s like a financial climax in our story. It’s scary more days than not. All the what if’s and worst case scenarios creep into my mind constantly. I’m worried about how we’ll make ends meet and enter a marriage with the odds stacked against us.

Then I’m reminded that it’s in Gods control. He will provide to us what we’re meant to have. He will help us succeed. Obviously, if we’re not supposed to have it or it’s not in the cards for us God will take it away and still provide.

I’m part of a college/young adult ministry at my church and we meet every Tuesday during our semesters. It’s an amazing community that really loves God and wants to be there for each other.

We’ve been going through a series called Attitude of Graditude. With a whole host of unknowns in my life currently it’s hard to look at the good of what’s going on or be grateful for all I have. I’ve been so caught up in what could go wrong instead of focusing on what has went right to get us here. Last Tuesday, one of the interns talked about an attitude of gratitude toward the cross. Of course, as Christians we are thankful Jesus came to earth to die for us on the cross because that’s our door to heaven. But he talked of a deeper meaning.

We watched a clip of the depiction of Jesus’ crucifixion. I’ve seen similar videos before but that video, that night hit harder than ever before. I was sick to my stomach and it was hard to force myself to watch. Just to see what he went through for you and me. Even in all of this I’m juggling right now my problems seem so minuscule compared to that one video.

I wanted to tell myself your problems are nothing compared to what Jesus went through. The excruciating pain and suffering to pay for my sins. To cover the cost of my sins and allow me to return home with God one day. To allow me to see my loved ones that left this earth to soon. I then realized these problems may be small in the grand scheme of things but Jesus does care. His coming to die on that cross and die a criminals death shows me that he did it not because he had to but because he wanted to. He chose to sacrifice himself. He chose us. He cares. He cared enough to put himself on that cross. So he’s gotta care about all my problems even the little ones that seem irrelevant.

The speaker challenged us to really think about that video, what the cross means to us. My mind immediately went to town on what it means to me and pulled me in a million different directions. It’s hard to narrow it down. However, after almost a week of digesting all the feelings I finally found it.

The cross, to me, boils down to one single word. Comfort. I know no matter what I’ll be taken care of. I know that no matter the circumstance God will provide. I know that no matter what he will be there because he paid for my sins when he didn’t have to. He already has proven his dedication of taking care of us. I know that no matter what I can give it to God and he will give me a better life than I even deserve. The cross takes away my stress and anxiety about plans that don’t go right. It’s the comfort that I can be absolutely and fully myself and he’ll still love me. It’s the comfort that I can do all things I set my mind to with him. Its that one day I’ll meet him at the gates of heaven and not have to experience anymore pain, sadness, hatred, or suffering. Its the fact that he died on the cross for me, someone who deserves to suffer on a criminals cross. It’s that I never have to worry about anything for my whole life. Nothing. Not how I’ll pay for school. Not how or if we’ll buy a house. Not the wedding. Not COVID-19. Not politics and government. Not my career. Not finances. Nothing.

It’s not an easy concept for me to accept. I like to be independent and in control. My aunt even referred to it as living in my box and wanting everything to fit just perfect. Then if anything doesn’t fit in my box I struggle with that. But if this last year has taught me anything it’s that even when plans don’t follow my agenda (or fit in the box) I’m still taken care of.

I just recently have gotten invited to be part of the national honor society of collegiate scholars which opens up a huge door for more scholarships and less out of school debt. We’re chipping away at wedding stuff with only a handful of things to go and money still put away. And lastly, a house is still up in the air until we can see if we can even get a mortgage but we’ve got somewhere to stay until we get it figured out. We won’t be out on the street.

All of what I just listed is still up in the air and surrounded by unknowns. However, it’s better than it was even weeks ago. And I have faith that it’ll continue to work itself out just as it always has and get better. Even if this is it, the extent of our “luck streak” I know God will provide.

Over the last 6 months or so I have experienced mind-boggling peace, which is a foreign feeling to me. In all aspects of my life. I’ve had the reassurance that no matter what we will be just fine. Worst case scenario or exactly how we pictured. I’ve been able to let go. Sit back. And truly enjoy this time in my life I’ll never get back. Or in regards to the wedding nothing I’ll be able to experience again. I pray for anything and everything that troubles me everyday. I pray that God would take away whatever I’m dealing with and do his thing. That he takes away my worry, stress, and anxiety. And I’m here today to say he honors that and then I thank him for what he took and what he turned it into. My fiancé and I are about to jump feet first into the deep end. However, I have the comfort of knowing we will be just fine. God promises that. My goal is to show gratitude in all circumstances from here on out. It may not be how we planned or a clean road to get where we end up, but the only thing that matters is we lean on God, that cross, and each other. Through all circumstances.

This is the talk about the cross and I highly recommend listening to. It’ll convict you in ways you never imagined.

Take comfort in knowing God is there through all and for all.

Glorify God. Be real women.

In today’s society, we as women, are pushed in a way to believe we don’t “need” men. We have come too far in history to rely on them. We’ve fought too hard for “equal rights”. In other words “we can do anything men can do”…

However, I completely disagree with many of these feminist driven statements and not because of what they stand for, but instead of how they are said. And yes, this is coming from a woman who has usually chosen to be a part of a “man’s world” most of her life.

My career is considered a man’s world still. Construction company positions, even office work, is still typically held for men. That being said women are finding their place and even in the field. Not to mention my degree is in Construction Management and most (not all, but most) do not take kindly to taking orders from a woman in a higher position in a field they “don’t belong”. Their respect is virtually nonexistent in a lot of cases.

My hobbies revolve around bows, guns, camo, and fishing poles. Whether it be standing in a river, sitting in a tree stand, or chasing dogs through the woods, I’m typically right in the mix. Many may think I only do it because Eric does, but in all honesty I began at a younger age than even he did.

The thing is my Dad is the reason I do all of this. Why I’m comfortable “hanging with the guys”, didn’t matter what it was that he was doing. If we were interested and wanted to help or go with him he took us and taught us as he was taught. He raised us to be the boys he didn’t get.

So, with that being said, you’d think I’d be all for pushing women to do everything men can do and beyond. After all I’ve done that my whole life and will continue too. However, I see a few things wrong with how society view women these days.

First off, God didn’t make me a man. He made me a woman. Simple as that. I’m all for supporting other women in all of their endeavors, but He created Eve from Adam’s rib. Not the other way around. Without Adam, there wasn’t an Eve. God chose to create mankind that way for a reason. He gave us different characteristics then men, for reasons such as raising kids and running a household. Man or woman, we all have our instincts that kick in differently than the other gender.

“Man and woman are: equal in value, different in nature, and complementary in purpose.” – Peter Kreeft

Second, we are physically different. Sure women can go to the gym and out lift, run faster, or out bench men in the gym. But physically we still typically have limits that men can easily exceed. Men may be able to carry 100s of lbs a day, but who carries and births babies? We’re just stronger in different ways.

I suppose my point in all of this is that women are made to be women. Not to try and be a man. Our psychology and physiology are different, there’s no way around that. God made us to do the things that man COULDN’T. Not try and compete to do the things men already can do. I absolutely will pursue my career in a mans field, but not because “I can do it cause a man can do it”. Instead it will be to bring new, fresh ideas to job sites. To bring a new perspective and in all honesty just do what I love.

I will continue to hunt and fish and just “hang with the guys” not because I’m trying to prove anything. But just because I grew up doing it, it’s tradition, and it’s a lifestyle. My best memories have been and are made in the woods.

The idea isn’t to somehow rise above men, but to work at their side as God intended. To do what they can’t and they do what we can’t. God put Adam and Eve in that garden together for one another, to work together, to both contribute in their own unique ways. We are equal, not in society’s eyes, but in Gods eyes.

There is a post on Facebook I will share every year, because I couldn’t imagine any better way to put it…because there is a place for women in construction. There’s a place for women to welding. There’s a tree waiting for a woman to sit in just like the boys and a gun waiting to be held like a baby. There’s a little girl that needs to be shown she can do it too, just in her own way.

“Our generation is so busy trying to prove that women can do everything men can do, women are losing the unique qualities that set us apart. The God-given femininity & unique way our Creator designed us. Women weren’t created to do everything a man can do…. Women were created to do everything a man can’t do.

The lioness does not try to be the lion. She embraces her role as the lioness. She is powerful, strong, and nurturing. She does not mistake her meekness for weakness. The world needs more kind, compassionate, humble, faithful, persevering, confident, fierce, bold, pure, and tender-hearted women.”

This world needs to start focusing on supporting women for being women. Every emotional, complicated, overthinking, extravagant part. And most importantly we need to step back and be who God made us to be, partners and “helpmates” for men. Not competitors. I will ALWAYS encourage more women to get into the outdoors to hunt, fish, camp, hike whatever it may be. I will ALWAYS encourage them to have a little fun trying to catch a bigger fish than the guys and clean your own kill and drag it out. I will ALWAYS motivate someone get into the trades through school whether that be building trades, welding, wood working, or mechanical work. And it will ALWAYS be my goal to be an inspiration to future little girls to push our way onto construction sites. However I will also always push fellow women to remember to do all these things while embracing who we are instead of trying to be somebody we aren’t supposed to be. To bring our own spin to things. Shake up the “normal”. Let me tell you in construction I’ve gotten quite creative with things. I can do the same jobs, just might take me a little longer with lifting or take more trips, but you better believe I’ll get it done.

This doesn’t mean we let men walk all over us. It doesn’t mean we let men think they are superior simply because they’re men. It doesn’t mean we are less. And it doesn’t mean they have any room to say “you can’t cause you’re a girl”. Because they’re are things we can do that they can’t. There are things we are better at than they are.

Women are such amazing beings, stop trying to escape what makes us unique just to be a “worldly feminist” and just be a feminist by simply supporting other women for just being women. Be the woman who does need a man for certain things, and here’s a secret because we actually do. Embrace our womanly nature. Equality is a battle we will never win, because honestly we weren’t meant to be equal in Gods eyes. We don’t have to be equal to men to mean something and contribute to this world.

We do it in our own way and to the side of men. We need men and men need women. We compliment each other, we complete each other, and we even contradict each other. But that’s what makes the world turn. If men and women were the “same” as this world says we need to be there would be no room for new, different, overthought ideas for men’s brains to digest and use.

For decades women have gotten out in the world and kicked butt. Opportunities are endless. The sky is the limit. Strong women have paved a way for years to ensure women have a say in this world. Take advantage of that, as a women, because it’s your passion. Not because there’s something to prove. We’ve proved ourselves for years. Those years are over. Now, we do cause we want to, not cause we can.

Blessings in disguise

This year has admittedly had more bad than good. 2020 was such an exiting year to look forward too, who knew the start to a new decade could be so rough.

However, in a typical year you start to see social media flooded with “give thanks”, “Be thankful”, “Count your blessings”, etc. This year it may be hard. This world had expeienced so much hatred, sadness, fear, hardship, and deceit.

You may say, I lost my job due to Corona, which made us behind on our bills and we’re on the verge of losing our car or home. It’s almost winter, I have kids. We can’t be on the streets. How can I be thankful?

Or I’m still laid off due to the shutdown. My extra unemployement is running out and Christmas is coming. It’s already ruined.

Or the one that hits my local area…My business took a hit from the shutdown, and the whole building flooded from the 500-year flood. I’m a small business, it’s my life’s work and the dream I made a reality.

Or my family that lost their home and due to the shutdown, construction companies were 2 months behind already and can’t take on any work, so, we have nowhere to go, nowhere to stay and it’s getting cold. The tent or camper in our front yard just isn’t cutting it anymore.

There have got to be hundreds and hundreds of people thinking to themselves that they wish this year would just be over. That there’s nothing to be thankful for, and that there’s been absolutely nothing good that has happened this year.

Since March, I have to agree. This has not been a very fulfilling or fruitful year for the vast majority.

However, let me tell you how my year started. On Monday January 13, I got to meet my first little cousin on my mom’s side. Lincoln Hayes was a little bundle of perfection, and I was able to hold him the very night he was born. Within that same week on Saturday January 18, I got engaged to my best friend. After more than 3 years of dating we finally took the next step. Needless to say my family sure did have an exciting week, and seemed this year was going to be picture perfect.

The end of February I was able to go to a Garth Brooks concert with my future mother in law, one of the best nights of my 2020 for sure! A week later we had an engagement party and I’ll be honest the engagement still didn’t feel real…

In March I said goodbye to my teens and welcomed my 20’s with 60 amazing people in the mountains of Tennessee. Most of whom were strangers. I was able to go on spring break with them, and it was one of the best weeks I’ve had. Within days of us getting back quarantine happened.

You’d think after that day I’d say life was a horrible mess after that. Don’t get me wrong my life got tossed upside down with the rest of Michigan. I couldn’t go to work. My schooling went all online for the rest of the semester. I went stir crazy at home, so I started donating plasma again just to get me out of the house for a little while. I couldn’t get onto unemployment and figured I was just outta luck, which is not a good spot to be with bills and now a wedding to pay for.

However, even in the bad God continued to bless me. All of the off time gave me ample opportunity to basically plan our whole wedding. I made a good amount of money from plasma, the official wedding fund. I spent a lot of time just relaxing and watching netflix (sadly not FRIENDS cause it got taken off at the first of the year). Which is time I don’t usually get when working and/or in school. My professors all made the best of it and to the best of their abilities made it possible to still continue on and pass.

On the day I went back to work I finally recieved my unemployment check. Which was an extra boost to my bank account, that I wouldn’t of been able to achieve working that whole time. So even though I was bored more times than not, it helped my future of a wedding and saving to move out immensly. This in turn allowed us to save up even more money and pay off everything up to this point in our wedding. Blessing #1.

I talked to my boss and expressed interest in office work. First, to get experience in the management side. Second, to help divide the load knowing he needed it. So over the summer I did quite a bit of office work as well as my usual stuff. It pretty much rounds me off for a little bit of everything on a job applicaiton and my resume. Blessing #2.

Blessing #3 really has everything to do with so many wedding plans that God has just set in my lap. First, I found my wedding dress (the second day of being engaged, not intentionlly but when ya know ya know) the first place we went to, less that an hour, on sale, and first one I pulled off the rack. I have been reconnecting with my childhood best friend over the last few years, asked her to be my maid of honor and she accepted. Also, another best friend that I’ve only known two years, but has been a rock for me ever since, agreed to be my bridesmaid. I feel so honored these two ladies are standing next to me, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I struggled to find just the right song for me and Jason’s song for our dance, it just recently showed itself and couldn’t be any more perfect. Lastly, and probably something I’m most excited about, my grandpa is going to marry us. All of these parts of our wedding are a few of the moments I look forward to the most.

This summer we took our first round of engagement pictures and camped a lot. Making so many great memories and stories we will talk about for years to come. Also, lots of visits to Lincoln, who is growing like a weed.

On Septmber 18, I shot my very likely once in a lifetime bear. I still can’t put into words how I felt when I saw him laying there. Also, Eric was right next to me, and my uncle Buck (who has always been like a grandpa, even before my dad died) was my guide just like always and led me right to him.

Salmon fishing was a bust, but again memories I wouldn’t trade for the world. Duck season the same at this point with Wixom lake now being a creek. In october we took our second round of engagement pictures that I’m obsessed with. Eric shot not one but two stud bucks. One being his biggest to date. I registered for my last semester of my Associates at Ferris and applied for graduation.

I know that was a lot but stay with me…

All of this happened in 2020.

Some of the best moments in my life happened in the mess of 2020.

The flood in May, was devastating. But I’ve never seen communities come together like we did. I’ve never seen love and help for people you didn’t even know.

The 2 month quarantine was financially devastating for a lot of people. But I’ve never seen families pull together like some were forced to do. We don’t often sit at home all at once, all day, everyday by choice.

So much bad this year. But, my list of blessings are just off the top of my head. I’m sure there are more. I actually write them down weekly so I can go back over all the good of the year.

I really didn’t think 2020 had a chance after we were in august and still so many bad things going on. But that’s just when my year started to look up again. If it hasn’t happened to you, it will. The year is not over yet, and it’s not over till that ball drops.

It’s easy to get caught up in the negativity, especially this year. It’s been tough on everyone, some more than others. But God is working in you one way or another. God taught me a lesson over this year. And it’s to give it to him, give it up. Just let it go. And he has blessed me in more ways than I can count or even claim to have done myself.

So as thanksgiving approaches, dig deep for those blessings to be thankful for. In the grand scheme of things this year sucked, but I bet if you look back you’ll find a few things. You may not feel like you’ve gotten those breaks or received those blessings, but think of it this way. You have what somebody else is praying for. You got the break somebody else is still waiting for. They are there. Don’t let them get buried underneath the bad 2020 mood. No matter how little…

2020 is a year most people will want to forget, but don’t write it off beacuse things happned and were out of your control. 2020 and the thoughts, memories, and blessings associated with it are what you made of it. 2020 isn’t over and can still hold it’s good times, make the best of what we have left.

I’ve been in ths spot where it just never seems to end. Life just keeps sucker punching you. But God will carry you through. One day you’ll look back on 2020 and wish you had the freetime with your kids or spouse again. No matter how crazy this year has been it’s still a year you’ll never get back. We can all agree we’re looking forward to 2021 and hope it’ll turn things around, but that’s not a guarantee either. These are the times that shape us depending on how we react. Either we let this year change us or we change this year. The blessings are there, you jsut have to blow away some of the 2020 smoke to find them.

Conquer the darkness

In the last few weeks our country has experienced so much unrest. Between one of the most important elections in our history, pointing fingers across party lines, and deciding who’s right and who’s wrong. The turmoil has turned neighbor against neighbor and own families against one other. We now sit almost a full week after the said, most important election in our history, and still no president. Nobody knows what to believe. Each side is pushing whatever they want to be heard, and the media just keeps adding fuel to the fire. Nobody knows how “America as we know it” will change with either candidate winning the presedential seat. There’s just so much out of our control.

Not to mention we’re on month 8 of what most people consider to be the year of the hunger games. Seems like anything and everything goes and we’re fighting to the death. Stocking up on everything from toilet paper to guns and ammo, ready for an apocalypse. Pretty gruesome huh…

However, luckily for me I know my God will see me through it and that gives me the faith to know I don’t have to fear what’s going on around me, or what the future holds for this world. I know when I lay my head down at night it’s in God’s control. From the first day the country started to lose it over the corona virus through this election and everything inbetween.

As Christians we are told to trust in the Lord with all our hearts, with no wavering or hesitation. When life is good and all is well it’s easy to do, but when times get tough it really tests our faith. Our human nature often sides with satan to create the mindset that we must be in control, God isn’t there to help, and he doesnt care.

This world needs us now more than ever to prove that he does care. He is here and he wants to help you. We are created in the image of God for a reason. We’re here on this earth as servants, to bring as many people to God as we can for as long as we’re here. We’re here to show others that God will come into your heart and take over your life, you just simply have to let him in. We’re here to show them that his mercy is unwavering and unconditional.

Jesus came to this earth to die for us, to cleanse us of our sins and he didn’t have to. He chose to, because he loves us. It’s times like these that we, as Christians, are an example to the world. A light in the darkness of what’s around us. We should be yelling the gospel from the rooftops. Praying for everyone, even if you don’t agree with recent decisions or beliefs. Loving others as he loves us. Lately, God has put it on my heart to be more open about my faith I believe it’s for a reason. In areas such as voting based on Biblical alignment, not candidates or party lines. Or where and why I stand on issues, and simply not giving into society because that’s what they deemed “acceptable”. Instead, I chose to stand by the word of God.

It’s hard to trust God as we should with so much uncertainty in the world, but I believe the corona virus, as well as anything else that Pandora’s box has opened, is God’s way of telling us to stop and examine what we’ve done to this world. What we’ve done to make it the way it is. Stop and think about your day to day life.

Do you pray everyday? Multiple times a day? Do you read your devotionals and/or Bible? Do you go to church every week? Do you talk to classmates/coworkers about God? Do you hide your faith? Do you blame Him for all of this hurt and pain the world is going through? I know I struggle with a lot of these quesitons, and don’t take part in near as much as I should. As a college student in my second year, I always have something on my mind whether it be school, working whenever I can, wedding planning, getting ready move out, hunting, and everyday life in general.

I will be the first to say my relationship with God is the first thing to suffer. It’s the first thing to get beat out of my busy schedule. I get so tied up thinking of my ” next”, whatever that may be, that I don’t stop and take care of my relationship with God in that moment. It’s so easy to fall out of rhythm. You tell yourself that one day won’t hurt. Then it’s two. Then it’s a week. Then you can’t remember the last time. God should take priority over all other things. No matter what they are or how important you think they are. Life gets busy and quick, but God doesn’t ever forget about you or push you off till tomorrow. It should go both ways.

I think it’s safe to say we were due for a wake up call. This country needs God back in our everyday life. He sure did give us time to think with 2 months of quarantine, nothing to do and nowhere to go.

We need to set aside time and spend the 30 minutes a day doing devotions and studying our bible. We need to pray without ceasing. We need to check in on each other. And then we need to leave it to God.

I was told at a farily young age that I would nevery die. That Jesus will come back in my lifetime. I never believed it becuase I was so young, but you’d have to be blind to not see what is brewing at the end of all of this chaos.

God is giving us the opportunnity to turn to him instead of away. To give everything to him and never look back. To use this time to teach others about the word and what Jesus did for us. To bring as many people as we can to know Christ and come to Heaven with us when it’s time. It’s a scary thought unless you know where you’re going, but to me it’s scarier to even think about what I’d have to face or go through if I stayed here.

So I challenge you with this. As much as satan wants you to micromanage your life around the what-if’s and fear sitting in you right now, throw it out. Give it to God. Focus your energy on him and he will not fail you. Christians have this amazing opportunity to spread the Bible like lightning bugs across a field on a summer night. A few of us may not make a huge difference, and our light can’t last forever. But, when we start getting jostled around we shine brighter and brighter as we all come together for the same cause.

This world is filled with darkness right now. Our government is full of deception and corruption, our citzens more divided than united. This is our time to shine. The end times are coming with more and more acceleration. Don’t waste what time we have worried about material things, they stay here. Spend time with what’s eternal and will last forever, maybe even help someone else find their eternity.

This election will end with a president you may or may not like, but God put him there. And we should pray for him and our country no matter the outcome. The corona virus will run it’s course, while God is watching over us. And we should pray for health and well being of our fellow Americans. There isn’t a single thing happening now that wasn’t meant to be. It’s hard to understand now, but God will reveal the plan in time.

In the meantime, armor up, and get ready to battle for our God. Satan may have had a good run, but his reign in this world needs to end. It’s time we take on the darkeness and spread the light.

Uniquely Me

As I sit next to the fire tonight by myself cause the guys decided to go fishing again, I decided to pull out one of my new books I’ve been dying to read by Lisa Bevere. For whatever reason I chose “Without Rival”.

The first chapter starts off by explaining that, as Christians, we don’t need to compete with others in God’s eyes. There are no rivals. However, that we’re not the same either. God doesn’t love us the same and he doesn’t see us as equal. Bevere defends these statements by simply saying “equal” implies love can be measured and “same” would mean we as Christians are replaceable.

She goes on to suggest instead of “equal” or “same” we are unique in God. Unique means prototype or only sample of….we are without rival. There has not and will not ever be another person like you.

“God uniquely created your DNA and knit your frame in secret so he could surprise the world. He authored how your heart expresses itself; he was the architect of your smile and melody of your voice; he made all of your features with the fondest thoughts of only you in mind. He celebrated along with your parents your first smile and watched with affection your first steps,” -Lisa Bevere

I’ve been extremely fortunate as I haven’t gotten caught up in the comparison game much in my life. Obviously, it happens and is inevitable, but for me personally, constantly trying to change myself to fit the mold everybody thought I should fit into hasn’t been a big issue..

Nonetheless, everyone faces it. In their own way and at different times in life. I find that I compare myself now more to others than I have at any point in my life. I’m at the point in life where kids my age are in the make it or break it stage in life. The time where everytime we turn around we have to ask if we’re doing it right or not. We’re getting married, having kids, buying houses, starting businesses, working up the corporate ladder, powering through college, whatever the case may be. The next handful of years are what set the stage for the rest of OUR lives and yet we are constantly looking to others for approval.

My comparison lately has been school. There are only a handful of women in my construction management program and I’m not gonna lie the guys are judge mental of us. We stick together and try to take the same classes and do homework together and stuff, but the guys still keep their distance.

Anyway, most of society (even in our own program) still sees us as incompetent in the trades or not good enough to work among to the guys, there’s added pressure. And for me pressure to prove myself to the world that I can make it in a mans world and pressure to not fall through the cracks and get the “woman aren’t made for construction” label proven right.

I put myself into comparison constantly. To both the guys and girls and it all comes down to proving that I’m good enough. That I belong there just as much as anyone else.

But let me tell you in the last two weeks my natural self has taken over. I keep telling myself I’ve got this. I’m gonna pass the class. I’m gonna get the job. I’m gonna succeed. That this is all so minuscule in the grand scheme of things.

Shooting a once in a lifetime bear, with hounds, boosted my confidence immensely. It’s the time of year I get to shine, where I get to show off a bit, and do the things that make me, well, me. The things that set me apart from everyone else, and not everyone else can do.

I spend my weekends hunting and fishing with Eric from the 1st of September to the 1st of January, and I love it. We create irreplaceable memories, and share the best times. And more times than not, it’s not just me and Eric. I get to create these timeless memories with all of my family in the fall, they turn out to be my favorite memories too.

After reading only one chapter of this book I’ve realized that in the end the memories are all that matter. We do what we love together and create memories that get passed down for generations. It doesn’t matter if most girls would rather shop or get their nails done and I spend my weekend shooting at birds. Or if one of the guys in class spent the weekend studying and I spent it on the river.

Everything that we compare ourselves to is earthly. The “things”. Jobs can be lost, things stolen, skills can deteriorate, and relationships can be ripped away, but you’ll never lose who you are.

So, for me. I’ll keep pounding those nails, laying that tile, studying for those tests, shooting those guns, killing those waterfowl/deer/bear, casting that line, wearing that camo, reading my bible, praying to my God. Because it’s who I am. It’s who I’ve always been and it’s who I’ll always be because God made me unique and in his image. Everything will fall into place just as it’s supposed to.

My life isn’t for everyone. And nobody else’s is for me. So do you. Do what is yours and make it your own. Don’t worry about the person next to you or even the person on TV. You’ll never be the same or at an equal spot with them. You’re two very different people created for two very different purposes. We’re all unique in God. There’s no playing field or bigger spot in heaven. We’ve all got our quarks that make us who we are.

“You are a daughter without rival carrying a light without equal equipped to fight a battle without rival—uniquely.”-Lisa Bevere

My God is greater than this virus

I have tried to refrain from sharing posts on social media about this coronavirus…I see no point in arguing on Facebook with somebody that you can’t and shouldn’t force to see things the way you do.

However, plenty of my friends have shared posts and comments over the last couple months. I’ve read some that make good points and other not so nice arguments with people that are close to one another.

I’ve looked at both sides. I’ve marinated my thoughts on one “side” vs the other because let’s be real America can’t just leave differences aside and stand together on something. There’s always division of sides.

Here’s what I see. Fear. Media induced fear. Neighbor turn against neighbor. Friend against friend. And even families turning on one another.

I won’t share my political affiliations. I won’t even share my stance on the many many topics surrounding the virus. However, I will share my faith.

When this first started it was terrifying. I was in Tennessee on spring break not knowing what we’d come home to. It was just chaos. At that point it was too soon to tell what all this really meant and what would happen in the months to come.

But if I’m honest, I don’t think I ever jumped on the bandwagon of fear. I was more scared that my schooling went of the train tracks and not being able to work, but I just don’t remember me ever being afraid of the virus itself.

I wasn’t afraid of getting it. Wasn’t afraid to continue on with life as normal. And I still feel that same way. As stated before I’m not going to go into why as far as what I’ve seen or heard because I believe both sides have fed us exactly what they want us to hear.

I’ve stated my opinion that 6 weeks later I’m ready to move on. I’m tired of living “in fear” and if others chose to well that’s their choice but I’m tired of being bullied into feeling bad for taking this stance. I won’t be bullied into being seen as a criminal for driving to town to donate plasma (which saves lives but nobody knows that I’m going there or cares cause you’re “supposed” to be confined to your house).

I 100% believe if it’s my time to go then it’s my time to go. I have a better life waiting for me in heaven. Whether it be I’m hit by a bus, die from the virus, or just drop dead. I 100% believe that if God has it in my plan to get the virus I will and if it’s in his plan for me not to then I won’t.

I believe that staying cooped up in the house isn’t going to help anything, especially your immune system. We need the sun and we need the fresh air.

What we don’t need is bullying. We don’t need judgment. We don’t need name calling. We don’t need finger pointing.

Which is exactly what I’ve watched unfold on Facebook. I’ve had civil conversations. I’ve had less than civil conversations. All with people I genuinely enjoy keeping in touch with on Facebook. All with people I consider friends or family.

I’m not naive and I do know this virus is real. I know it’s out there and I know it’s spreading. But I also know the media gets their hands on something and run with it.

It’s each individuals choice how we respond to the media coverage. How it impacts you. How you decide to use it for your life. However, it is up to EACH INDIVIDUAL. Not your neighbor, not your friend, not your cousin, not your sister.

I have chosen to not be afraid. And let me clarify, I can live my life without fear and still be smart about things. It is possible. I can go to the store and use hand sanitizer as I walk out. I can keep my distance from someone in line.

However, the mass hysteria that this world has encountered is not something I’m going to take part of.

I understand people are dying and that is horrible, but people die everyday and will continue. It is a fact of life, and just because the death certificate says COVID1-19 doesn’t make their life anymore important than someone who dies in a car accident. I understand people are suffering on breathing tubes and hooked up to machines, and I believe the pain is unimaginable but people who suffer from domestic violence and mental illness suffer as well and will continue to everyday.

This country has a hierarchy of importance. And right now the top of that pyramid is COVID-19 patients either in the hospital or that have died, we don’t even acknowledge those that have survived and fought with every fiber in their body to overcome it!

God tells us to love all. Love as he loves us and love our neighbors as ourselves. This means we think and care for children’s missing meals because they rely on school food, college students ready to drop out because online is too much, domestic violence victims all bruised up, single parents who can’t get unemployment and are laid off work, nurses and doctors fighting on the front lines watching these people die everyday, people infected with the virus fighting for their lives, people who have died from the virus, people who die for reasons other than the virus. ALL PEOPLE.

To some I will come off as heartless, selfish, and self-centered, but I’ll set the record straight now I simply care about more than just the people with the corona label.

My God is stronger than this virus. He will carry me through. If I get the virus and it’s my time to go then I have pearly gates to walk through and it’s my time. If not then God has more for me to do down here.

I’m not living in fear. And it has absolutely nothing to do with the virus and everything to do with my faith. I trust God with my life. Virus or not. And this virus isn’t going to get in my way. Satan wants me to live in fear. And I won’t give into him. It’s as simple as that.